Feature

This Feed is Expiring

Posted on 23 April 2010

The Slacker Reform feed is expiring and I’m passing it on to the Drop of Change feed.

Please update your feed reader accordingly.

Subscribe to Drop of Change by clicking here.

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Feature, Vagabond

Why I’ve Been So Quiet

Posted on 08 October 2009

To be honest, I’ve been neglecting you.

That’s right – I’ve applied my warcry of I Don’t Care to you.

It’s not that I don’t like you – surely you’re my readers, I appreciate you greatly.

But life has its way of changing things – and it’s changed me these past few months.

To give you a brief rundown of how I’ll use a nice easy to read set of bullet points.

•  Roadtrip Disconnect

I finished a month long roadtrip this summer with an amazing woman.  I learned a great deal about living on the road even though I had been doing it for nearly eight months.  What it’s like to take care of your space, be direct and honest with other people, reach out when you need to, and take care of myself both physically and mentally.

The roadtrip also helped me disconnect from a number of addictions or habits I had cultivated over the years.  An addiction to being connected was broken because I was in a car in the middle of nowhere half the time where my iPhone didn’t even get voice service.  An addiction to coffee was broken when in Chicago I made the decision to cut it out of my life.  Three months later and I don’t need coffee or caffeine, my energy levels are more even (I wake up naturally without an alarm about 9:30am everyday) and I don’t spend as much money feeding that addiction.

I cultivated a practice of doing yoga every morning.  I call it a practice and not a habit because it’s a conscious choice every morning to get up and flow through my sequence – it’s a part of my centering each day.  On top of that I added rigorous body weight intervals to increase strength, endurance, and power (while home I managed to add about 8 lbs. of muscle mass in less than 6 weeks).

•  Family

While there I helped (i.e. smooth talked) them renovate my old bedroom into a library space.  This involved sorting through about two decades of attic and storageroom stuff of theirs and sending it to Goodwill, the dump or repackaging it for sale or storage.  Then tearing out a ceiling and a wall, sanding down a floor, staining the floor and building a wall to wall bookcase with my dad.

Additionally I spent time helping my father after a surgery around the house.  Cutting down trees that had been bent over in an ice storm last winter.  Chopping firewood for the external wood furnace that heats our house.

Spending time helping my family through a bit of a rough patch, involving myself in manual labor and creating something with my hands, helping my family streamline a bit of their life – these things have so much reward for me and they took precedence.

•  Retreat

I went on a weeklong retreat in Hartland, Vermont hosted by Vida Samiha that focused on sustainability in our lives.  It began with a workshop focusing on Design Thinking, Permaculture and the intersection with Social Movements.  Tasked to implement these strategies in relationship to a project we were involved in, it really helped clarify where I wanted to go with my work-career-liberation path.

The rest of the week focused on the retreat space where we could reflect on specific terms like oppression, sustainability, and privilege in our lives.  It allowed me to connect with individuals doing exceptional work in their communities, explore concepts in a new way, and revisit activist (both socially and ecologically) roots that I have let stagnate.

As part of the retreat I got to share the ideas of the lifestyle design community and the vagabonding community with everyone, including a 45 minute talk about my expulsion from Canada, my embracing of a transient life and minimalism (including the 100 item challenge).

•  Coaching

I started exploring the possibility of adding life coaching to my repertoire of skills.  I reached out to a few life coaches I know personally and they explained their entry to the field, how they operate and some valuable lessons they have learned in the process (Jonathan Mead talks a bit about this in the latest conversation we had).

As part of this process, in addition to researching it, reading about the practice and studying the concepts I had my first coaching session with Jenny Blake from Life After College.  It was an amazing experience.  She guided me through some visualizations which guided me to a re-imagining of my path in life.   It also included an wonderful visual image for me about how I will walk through the world and enact change.

The following work I did at the Retreat and at home has led me to the place where I will be retiring Slacker Reform.  Even though I love the name, the work I do here and what it embodies – it lacks a certain mindfulness and calm that I want to embody in my life.

So where does this leave you?

The path I will be walking through the world will involve the retirement of Slacker Reform, however, it will be the birth of the Drop Of Change website and blog.

Drop Of Change’s mission is to create sustainable, curious and mindful living.

I hope you follow me on my path to the Drop Of Change – I will continue to write about personal development, lifestyle design, life hacking and all of the issues I address here but the tone of the site will change from Slacker Reform and I will add issues that are important to me like sustainability, design thinking, spirituality, physical practices and more.

If you are interested in the path I have chosen to walk, please visit my personal vision statement that was the culmination of my time at the Vida Samiha retreat.

If you are interested in contacting me, please e-mail me at carl(at)slackerreform(dot)com.

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Artist, Feature

Liberation Artist Conversation – Jonathan Mead Revisited

Posted on 30 September 2009

LiberationArtist JonathanMead This Feed is Expiring

I’m excited to bring you another conversation with Liberation Artist Jonathan Mead.  Jonathan is a liberation badass.  This year he quit his real job and moved into coaching and writing full time.

I had the opportunity to first speak with Jonathan back in the spring and you can find that interview here.

There’s been a lot of change and growth since then and in this conversation we talk about our own personal growth both personally and on a more business level.  We’re not just talking about this online world either – we explore how we each explain the juncture of the personal development online community and the social worlds we inhabit offline, how we help to enrich the world and communities around us, and inspire others to go out and create change in the world.

Reverse-engineering motivations, how life coaching changes both the coach and the client, and why he’s been holed up in a cave (i.e. desk) for a month.

Listen to it here (Donald Trump apprentices need not apply):

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Jonathan Mead is the author of the Zero Hour Workweek and Reclaim Your Dreams.  He’s a regular contributor to Zen Habits.  Runs the Black Sheep Project with Jared Kessler.  Is the Lead Ass-Kicker for Project Mojave.  And is ready to launch his own e-course on how to Get Paid to Exist – an indepth examination about how to turn your passion and skill into a saleable skill.

Excuse the breathing into the microphone – I sound like I’ve got a respiratory disorder.

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Feature, Play

Words to Live Your Life By

Posted on 15 September 2009

3174839833 14cc67a73e d This Feed is Expiring

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

That depends a good deal on where you want to go, said the Cat.

I don’t much care where, said Alice.

Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.

Lewis Carroll

Do you much care where you are going?

I’m sure you do.  If you’re reading this you’re probably much more interested in where you are in your life and where you are going that the majority of people I meet.  Perhaps that rings of a bit of cynicism for the general populace – regardless.

Living your life with a certain care, a certain aesthetic or design requires a conscious choice of the values that will guide us.  Otherwise we are asking for directions without having a sense where we should be going.  We need not be as blithely unaware as Alice though.

So how do we determine our values?

There are many ways, but this is one way I find effective for myself.

Find a quiet space for yourself where you can sit and contemplate.  This may be headphones in during your lunch break, in the park, in your favorite arm chair – whatever is truly comfortable for you.

Close your eyes (after you’ve finished reading this).

Take one, two, three slow deep breathes.  With each inhale let your body relax and fill with calm.  With each exhale let go of the troubles of your day, the worries and the practicalities.  You can get back to them later.

Think about this question: What values do I seek to embody?

Turn it over in your mind, stretch it out, look at it from as many angles as you want.  This question is about you. Not your work, your family, or your art.

Picture the person you are in five years – wiser, experienced, learned.

What values does that person embody?

Open your eyes, write down anything that came to your mind.  Spend a few minutes writing these things down.

Now look at your list and determine common themes.  Repackage them into groups by connecting them with arrows or circling them together.

For each group write out a sentence or two about what that group of kindred values means to you.  By giving your value groups specific meaning clarifies what it is embody those values for you.

Words are merely jumbled letters unless meaning is attached.

In determining the meaning for each of your value groups you will realize some values are more shallow or less important than others.  Select the top five or six value groups that you seek to embody.  Clarify them further.

Repeat this exercise on occasion. At the beginning you may notice your values are material or connected to things in the world, as you repeat this exercise you will find that they become more about who you are.

If you want to see my values which I re-examined recently, click here.

Flickr photo by Kelsey Shay.

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Feature, Slacker

Re-Imagining for the Future – Feedback Please

Posted on 14 September 2009

Sometimes you outgrow a place in pursuit of your purpose and must accept to leave it and move on to the next step – that is what will be happening in the future.

And so I turn to you, my readers, friends and network, for comments and suggestions on the redirection and branding behind my future blog venture. This time I’ve got a clear purpose and plan and that starts with hearing from you.

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Artist, Feature

An Interview with Cath Duncan – The Bottom-line Bookclub

Posted on 08 September 2009

 This Feed is Expiring

Cath Duncan – Life Coach & Location Independent Professional

And all around awesome person.

I had the opportunity to meet Cath in Denver for lunch when she was traveling through the U.S. for a month with her husband.  We had a great time and snapped the above photo.  It really goes to show how you can develop strong connections with people across the globe that resonate with your lifestyle through social networking, blogging and more.

I interviewed Cath last week about her entry into the world of Location Independent living and her Bottom-line Bookclub series.

She shares some fantastic stories about her transition into location independent living and the online world as a complete newbie and the challenges it presented her with.  Her ability to understand problems and how to ask smart and open questions really provides insights into how we should approach the difficulties in our life.

She also delves into how our perspective influences the options we see in our lives and how, once we change our way of viewing the world, we open up to the opportunities that were there before us but we failed to acknowledge.  Removing the blinders enables us to focus in a whole different manner.

Please enjoy this interview with Cath Duncan.

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The Bottom-line Bookclub

BLBC banner7 This Feed is ExpiringHer Bottom-line Bookclub series takes one personal development book each month and breaks it down into its core ideas.  It’s easy to skim over books and material and fail to put that knowledge into action, instead the Bottom-line series gives you a workbook with exercises meant to guide you through the growth process.

This month the book was The Flipside by Adam Jackson.  The Bookclub also includes interviews with the authors, a social network to collaborate with other members, and daily tips.

Get a free copy of last months Bottom-line book – Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pam Slim – by giving Cath your feedback just by filling out this survey.

Disclaimer: This post does include affiliate links for the Bottom-line Bookclub and by helping to spread the word I’ll earn a percentage on any sales made here.  I don’t endorse many products here at Slacker Reform but Cath’s Bookclub is an excellent program and if you enjoyed the interview and filled out the survey (do it, it’s free!) and still want in on the Bookclub please use one of my links and throw a few bucks my way.

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